Media Beat: February 18, 2021

By David Farrell

Are the cuts at Bell Media the beginning of the end for Canadian broadcasting?

Ottawa has proposed changes to the Broadcasting Act that would force online streaming services to contribute to Canadian content, long a sore spot for domestic players. The details have yet to be finalized, however, and the government’s bill also removed an explicit reference to Canadian ownership and control, prompting speculation that foreign ownership of broadcasters could be on the horizon. – Christine Doby, The Star

The growing crisis in Canadian broadcasting

With Bell Media making headlines with as many as 300 layoffs in its local radio and TV brands, the action was not without warning.

A study, titled "The Crisis in Canadian Media and the Future of Local Broadcasting," was commissioned by the CAB and released in Aug. 2020 clearly stated it's concern about the fallout from a substantial erosion in local advertising revenues over recent months.


Radio stations may be hardest hit in the short term, the report suggests, partly due to many advertisers pulling back on their spending in the pandemic and hastening a decline in the media industry's revenues.

Private radio ad revenues are expected to be $383 million below last year, it said.

The report's projections suggest that without further government support those declines could mean as many as 50 private local radio stations go out of business over the next four to six months.

Another 150 radio stations could topple in the 18 months that follow, it said, leading to as many as 2,000 job losses.

TV stations could risk a similar fate with roughly 40 of Canada's 94 private TV broadcasters in danger of closing within one to three years, the research predicts. – The Canadian Press

Rob Fai tries to find way again in sports media game after TSN 1040 dismantling

The dust is still clearing from the sudden demise of TSN 1040, but Rob Fai is on to something new.

Fai — who was the late-night host on the all-sports station that was shut down by parent company Bell Media without warning midway through their morning show last Tuesday — has joined forces with Hubcast Media to do a post-game Vancouver Canucks show on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook Live and Vimeo.


Rob Fai's doing Canucks post-game shows on YouTube and Twitch, and it'll be interesting to see if any of his old teammates follow suit. – Steve Ewen, The Province

The treasures of AM radio

Many years ago, someone asked singer Tom Waits about his favourite sounds. He replied, “a baseball game on an AM radio on a warm summer night.” He’s not wrong. To generations of radio listeners, there’s something mystical about the tinny, crackly sounds of an AM radio broadcast. – Alan Cross, Global News

Facebook takes on Australian government in battle over news media compensation

Facebook has made good on its threat to ban Australians from seeing or posting news content on its site in response to the federal government’s proposed news media code. As of Thursday morning, news publishers were unable to post content on pages, while articles were also blocked from being shared. In implementing its new ban, the social media giant also blocked a number of government departments, charities and its own page. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg lambasted the company, saying the social media giant's 'actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia' –  The Guardian


The Elites have set the stage for the greatest economic crisis in history

Decade after decade, similar booms and busts surfaced across the world, with the same flawed thinking from elites producing the same result. But when the 2008 financial crisis came along, the rules of the game changed. The interconnectedness of global finance meant that one asset class was capable of bringing down the entire system. The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve “had no choice” but to use the same policies that had caused the crisis to prevent a collapse. Their solution? Turn the entire U.S. economy into one gigantic moral hazard.


Thirteen years on, and bubbles are no longer bubbles. Instead, they have become the hip, new asset class on the street. Every speculative asset class has been “securitized”: stocks, corporate debt, real estate, fine wine, fine art, vintage guitars. Take your pick. You’re spoiled for choice. Valuations don’t matter. It’s whether the price goes up or down. – Concoda, Medium

What is Mars One’s mission budget?

Mars One estimates the cost of bringing the first four people to Mars at US$ 6 billion. This is the cost of all the hardware combined, plus the operational expenditures, plus margins. For every next manned mission including hardware and operations, Mars One estimates the costs at US$ 4 billion.

As the missions progress through development phases A to D (also see Current Mission Status), improved cost estimates will become available. The updated numbers could show higher development or construction cost than the current estimates. The cost could also increase if more components than accounted for fail and need to be replaced. There are also opportunities to lower the mission cost, for example if larger, more economical launchers become available. Mars One's business case projection supports at least double the budget. Read more about Mars One’s business model.

Current Cost Breakdown Estimates

US$ 450 million for the first unmanned Mars lander mission
US$ 425 million for the communications satellite
US$ 900 million for the first rover mission
US$ 2,300 million for all remaining outpost hardware and supplies before the human mission US$ 1,250 million for sending the first crew to Mars
US$ 582 million for operations, including astronaut selection and training
US$ 93 million for ground stations and other costs
US$ 1,850 million per year for follow-up human missions


Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio megastar whose slashing, divisive style of mockery and grievance reshaped American conservatism, denigrating Democrats, environmentalists, “feminazis” (his term) and other liberals while presaging the rise of Donald J. Trump, died on Wednesday at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 70.


His wife, Kathryn, announced the death at the start of Mr. Limbaugh’s radio show, a decades-long destination for his flock of more than 15 million listeners. “I know that I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today,” she said, before adding that he had died that morning from complications of lung cancer. – Michael M. Grynbaum, The New York Times

Lady Gaga attends the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards at Barker Hangar on Feb. 27, 2022 in Santa Monica, California.
Emma McIntyre/GI for WarnerMedia

Lady Gaga attends the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards at Barker Hangar on Feb. 27, 2022 in Santa Monica, California.

Music News

Lady Gaga Will Be Performing at the 2024 Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony

The ceremony takes place on July 26.

Lady Gaga is taking over the Olympic stage.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer is set to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games this Friday (July 26). Other rumored artists speculated to perform include Celine Dion, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande and French singer Aya Nakamura, though none have been confirmed.

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